Unofficial Notes from Satellite 2019

FULL NOTES HERE (68 pages)

This year’s Satellite 2019 conference was more upbeat than the past few years. There was a general recognition that the industry has changed and is adapting to long-term pricing declines and performance improvement (e.g., finally accepting Moore’s Law 🙂

From a broader perspective, the satellite industry seems to be slowly finding its niche in the context of the evolving telecom sector with 5G and IoT while the positions of LEOs and GEOs are also sorting themselves out. Long-term industry opportunities exist with HTS-LEO systems but there are lots of kinks to work out before getting low-cost customer equipment.

The proportion of younger attendees and those outside the satellite industry was higher than in prior years. In general, it seems the sector is becoming comfortable with a higher rate of change than it has previously experienced.

  • The issue of security was a bigger issue this year than in the past
  • Business Models for IoT and machine learning are becoming clearer
  • LEO constellations are part of the future, but the issue of affordable customer equipment is a massive challenge
  • Future GEO satellites are likely to be increasingly software-defined, allowing more flexibility in term of frequency, beam forming, power allocation and other factors
  • GEO manufacturing demand seems to be rebounding a bit
  • Acceptance of the need to integrate with 5G technologies is also clear, even if the approach to doing it is not. Multiple panels had representatives from outside the satellite industry including airlines and telcos
  • Legislative issues, including C-band, were top of mind (see detailed summary of Velocity Government Relations presentation in Section1.7 [beginning at page 14])

In short, evidence is emerging of the industry’s stepping away from the traditional conservative defense-sector mentality. The satellite industry may not fully embrace the rapid change/integration of the Silicon Valley approach. However, the acceptance of change and integration with the rest of the communications sector was evident – at least in word…